January 3, 2023

Five Key Attributes of a Leader

by Jeremiah Shaw

In a world where the word “leader” means different things to different people, I think it is essential to define the attributes of a leader continually. This evolution is as much about our personal leadership as it is about anyone else. This is something I have been rediscovering myself. Recently my coach challenged me to identify what traits I have built in my leadership career.

This was harder than I thought it would be as I began identifying what I valued. The first draft was my eyes only, and then I looped my spouse in, then I asked my close friends and colleagues, then presented it to my coach. I soon found that either the traits I found were reinforced or they brought things to light I hadn’t included. Here is where I landed in my personal journey to what I believe are key attributes for a basic leadership foundation.

Attribute One: integrity.

Without integrity and truth, there is no relationship, and relationship is the core of steadfast leadership. A few years ago, my wife and I took a weekend trip to an Airbnb on a lake to design our family mission, vision, and values. Today those statements sit on our dining room wall. They guide our family in how we live and how we make decisions. The first value reads, “A Shaw is a TRUTH teller regardless of the consequences.” I have found that integrity is the alpha and omega of leadership. It is all.

Attribute Two: humility over ego.

I once heard someone say that ego divides and humility connects. This has rang true for my journey. We have all worked with both types of leaders. This is the leader that claims all wins for themselves and is too fearful of highlighting the team and their efforts. Humble leaders are constantly aware of their strengths and weaknesses; they are excited to build a team that works together. They live by the mantra, “for the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” – Rudyard Kipling, The Law for the Wolves

Attribute Three: empathy.

All you have to do is Google “empathetic leaders,” and you can see the research and impact on leadership. Empathy is the ability to relate to someone’s situation and literally feel what they are feeling. It can be a leader’s superpower. I have learned that embracing empathy allows me to hear and understand those around me. This drives engagement which drives results. It might be simplified down to, if relationship is what matters, empathy is the glue, for that matter. It connects us.

Attribute Four: consistency.

We talk about Consistency at Strata Leadership in the C3 Concept framework. Character + Competency = Consistency. I’ve learned that without consistency, there is no accountability, and without accountability, there is no meaningful, sustainable progress. Want to run those around you away, be inconsistent. Want to attract the best team? Be predicably consistent.

Attribute Five: communication.

Following on the back of consistency is communication. Communication is the ability to ensure that both parties understand what you have shared. This sharing or a message may be audible, physical, or emotional. Being clear is being kind. I remember numerous times that I was communicating effectively with the team. Well, unfortunately, what I think matters little when it comes to communication. I am responsible for ensuring the team hears what I meant for them to hear.

Whether you’ve been in leadership or are new to the leadership role, remember we are always evolving. It is important to rediscover or redefine the core leadership attributes that you lead through. Competency comes when we are fully aware of what makes things work. That is scalable, and this world needs leaders that scale. If you’d like to discuss this idea or other leadership topics further, feel free to reach out to learn ways that we can partner for you and your team’s leadership journey.


Jeremiah Shaw has a genuine desire to understand others’ stories, explore their challenges, and connect them with the resources that support their vision. With the power of positivity and a joyfully mischievous spirit, Jeremiah enjoys helping his clients clarify and enact a full, purposeful life by defining their value-driven vision, professionally, organizationally, and personally.

Connect with Jeremiah Shaw on LinkedIn.